by Dana Paxton
Skandia Sail for Gold 2011's day four was the traditional 'moving day' for Team AlphaGraphics and there is a general idea among competitors that you will either move up in the overall standings and increase your chances for the top-10 group who advances or you don’t.
Star fleet of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland, the 2012 Olympic venue.
Now amongst calmer seas and steady wind, the athletes have gained points in Women’s 470, Star, 2.4mR, Men’s RS:X, 49er and Women’s Match Racing.
It was another good day in the Women’s 470. Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) collected a fifth in race seven. The duo lead the fleet into the first windward mark rounding along with US Sailing Development Team members Briana Provancha and Annie Haeger, who was recently named Quantum College Sailor of the Year. With a 5-12 in two races, Clark and Lihan are in an overall 10th. Provancha and Haeger scored a 15-9 moved up to 23rd overall. Erin Maxwell (Wilton, Conn.) and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar (New York, N.Y,) consolidated their ninth overall with scores today of 22-6.
With a sixth, a first and another sixth, Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.) moved up the 2.4mR standings to fifth overall. LeBlanc is the lone American 2.4mR sailor in the 35-boat fleet.
Adding to more match racing wins was Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) and Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham (Miami, Fla.). They defeated the their USSTAG team mates Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) with her 'Team Maclaren' crew Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) and Australian skipper Nicky Souter.
Bob Willis (Chicago, Ill.) took two wins in the Men’s RS:X silver fleet, his best performance at an ISAF Sailing World Cup event. He stands in first overall while Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (Naples, Fla./North Pomfret, Vt.) were back on form in the 49er today. They scored a win in the day’s first race and then went on to score 13-13-14. They stand in 14th overall and in the hunt for the medal race cutoff tomorrow.
Bob Willis describes his best RS:X performance of the day: 'It felt really good in 15-20 and I’ve been training in these types of conditions. I’ve been training with really fast guys and I was really disappointed when I didn’t make Gold fleet, the best way to justify that is to make a statement in the silver fleet.' Full audio interview here.
Kenneth Andreasen, High Performance Director, previews day four and the US Trials: 'Our goal is to become the fittest team on the planet and it looks like it’s working. Today is an important day. This is the first part of the US Trials. We have gone through the qualification for gold fleets and now it’s time for the athletes to do what they need to do. You can’t win a regatta at the beginning, but you can lose it.'
USSTAG meteorologist Doug Charko previews the weather expectations on day four: 'This is early summer and this is the sunny seaside. We have a band of showers off to the west, but the sun prevails because it’s that time of the year.'
Racing is scheduled for June 6-11 across 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes, the Skandia Sail for Gold is hosting over 1,000 sailors from 62 countries.
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